CUSTER/RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The Black Hills National Forest Service (BHNFS) is planning two prescribed burns, according to the Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The first prescribed burn is the Long Draw project located about five miles west of Hill City, S.D. The burn is scheduled from Monday, November 13th through Thursday, November 16th and will be conducted by the Mystic Ranger District.
A second prescribed burn is the Witch Project located about three miles southwest of Pringle, S.D. This burn is scheduled on Tuesday, November 14th and Wednesday, November 15th. It will be conducted by the Hell Canyon Ranger District.
“We’re continuing the use of prescribed fire to enhance wildlife habitat and increase public safety,” said Shea Koch, Mystic Fuels Technician, Black Hills National Forest. “Without prescribed fire, forest ecosystems can become overcrowded and contribute to extreme wildfires through the buildup of combustible materials on forest floors.”
Prescribed burns enhance the forest by removing encroaching trees. This allows the meadows to grow native plants which provides forage for small and large wildlife.
The proactive burns also reduce hazardous fuel loads caused by dead timber, pine needles and pinecones. It helps restore the the ecosystem and keep the forest and grasslands healthy.
The BHNFS is asking visitors and hunters to avoid these areas during these dates. Smoke will be visible throughout the scheduled days and it could linger for several days later. Firefighters will be at both sites during ignition and monitoring them for several days afterward.
The BHNFS asked that if you see smoke from these two areas on these particular days, to refrain from calling 911. All prescribed burns are weather permitting.
For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.